The walled garden is exclusive like a womb. Scarpa’s garden at the Querini Stampalia Foundation is interior, and thus, “... exists as a cultivated haven, unburdened by unpredictable change. Here is a curious conceptual reversal of the traditional building-garden-landscape sequence established in the paradigm of the classical villa. Scarpa, in a renaissance perspective, proposes the garden as the part of the project that is most removed from a natural condition”. That which is barren is naturally uninhabitable, and only through intervention is there a chance to watch things grow. An immersive space separated by translucent green mylar, the work is a simulation of nature — bastardized by its pots on barren ground.
As one movies through the installation, the viewer encounters living plants with progressively restricted growth, followed by an arrangement of fake plants that are disconnected from the earth, but will never die. Enric Mirales and Carmen Pinos’ Igualada Cemetery use of “...powerful incisions and its language of prefabricated concrete produce a tense energy that reverberates between artifice and nature . . . Exaggerated scale and sharp-edged abstraction differentiate the cemetery not only from its surroundings but also from everyday space. This is the realm of the sublime — a space that has the power to move but is not easy to inhabit”. This work pulls from the aesthetic decisions of the cemetery to achieve a geometric abstraction of nature in a constructed square room, while blending the foliage in a way that makes the artificial hard to discern from the real. The introduction of medicine to the body is invasive and separate, yet once arrived quickly becomes very hard to distinguish from the exterior vantage point. If something were to flourish in the space, it would take a considerable amount of work and money to make it cultivable, like a paradise garden in a dessert: diligently irrigated by gravity and maintained to accommodate imported plants.
“Scarpa’s projects achieve their complexity through the stratification of successive overlays, within which interrelationships and intersections between scales are discovered” while simultaneously are transformative through the accordance of “an equivalent presence to different states, thereby allowing matter and space to condition each other: neither is dominant, neither establishes the ‘facts’ of the project that the other must adhere to.” In this way, they act as the forest clearing: a nexus of interaction and exchange. The projections playing symmetrically in human perfection across mirrors are disrupted by foliage while simultaneously unifying it, like the renaissance garden working against nature for order and reason. They emerge from a mirror in the ceiling — like the opening in a garden or forest clearing, lighting the leveled concrete floor.
A forest clearing is a break from the darkness of wilderness. It is a subjective vantage point: immersive with enough breathing room to place a border so that one might be able to see the trees as the symbol of light and growth without forgetting their deep and darker nature.